How did people imagine the future of mobility in Russia in the late 1990s? The Lada Rapan gives us an idea. This strange concept was exhibited in Rome in 1998, but failed to garner the hoped-for interest either from the public or from big Russian companies, on whose support Lada was relying heavily to popularise the possible series model.

The Rapan thus remained at the prototype stage, although its shape remains among the most bizarre ever seen in the automotive world.

An 'alien' experiment

The car is being built by AvtoVAZ's research and development department in Togliatti, Russia. The lines are decidedly original, with the bodywork dominated by strange ribs that wrap around the entire front section, giving the car an almost alien 'face'.

Lada Rapan Concept (1998)

Lada Rapan Concept (1998)

The decorative elements on the sides of the car look like eyes, while the inserts in the lower part of the bumper resemble the corners of a mouth. Apart from the design, however, the dimensions are (almost) right for the city, with a length of 3.49 metres and a width of 1.43 metres.

On this last point, however, you have to consider that the huge mirrors add almost 50 cm to the car's track, raising the figure to 1.92 m (practically the same as a modern BMW 7 Series). Finally, the height is 1.61 m, while the wheelbase is an impressive 2.91 m.

Powertrain and performance

The powertrain consists of a nickel metal hydride battery (capacity unspecified) and a 34 PS electric motor. According to data provided by Lada at the time, the Rapan can be recharged from a 220 volt socket and can reach a top speed of 55 mph.

Lada Rapan Concept (1998)

Lada Rapan Concept (1998)

The range is unknown, although we could imagine a maximum of 30-45 miles. Acceleration figures are not exactly exciting (also influenced by the car's overall weight of 1,500 kg), with 0-18 mph covered in 5 seconds and 0-37 mph in 14 seconds. It is probably also because of these figures that the strange Rapan failed to win the hearts of customers and potential investors at the time.

Gallery: Lada Rapan Concept (1998)